The modifications apply to both in-store and online grocery pickup and delivery orders. By Earth Day 2022, all of Walmart’s more than 400 Canadian sites will have adopted the new policy. This will abolish single-use plastic shopping bags, eliminating the circulation of over three-quarters of a billion plastic bags each year. Walmart will become one of the largest grocery retailers in the country to make this change.
Farm Boy, a grocery store that began in Ottawa, Ontario and now has locations around the province, stopped using plastic bags a few months ago and now offers customers the option of purchasing paper bags.
Walmart will conduct a comprehensive customer awareness and education campaign ahead of the move to help customers transition to a plastic bag-free experience. Customers will be urged to carry out their shopping with reusable options from home. If needed, low-cost, high-quality reusable choices will be available for purchase.
“Canadians have told us that it is long past time that we cleaned up the plastics littering our beaches, parks, streets and shorelines. The Government of Canada has committed to ban some single-use plastics, and I’d like to thank businesses like Walmart Canada for stepping up to meet the expectations of an environmentally conscious public.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Walmart is committed to reducing single-use plastics and has already implemented a number of measures, including:
- Plastic wrap is being removed from organic banana bunches and solitary peppers, saving more than 205,000 pounds of plastic each year.
- Increasing the amount of post-consumer recycled content in baked-goods packaging, preventing the usage of 925,000 lbs. of new plastics each year.
- By providing new packaging for sausage trays, we are removing 420,000 pounds of extended poly styrene from the supply chain each year.
- In-store single-use plastic straws are being phased out in favour of paper alternatives, resulting in an annual reduction of 35 million single-use plastic straws.
Loblaws Canada, a Canadian supermarket operator, has yet to take the effort to phase out plastic bags across the country. They began phasing out all black plastics from their control brand produce items in 2019 in an effort to improve the recyclability of produce packaging in their stores.
As an afterthought: each year, between 500 billion and one trillion plastic bags are estimated to wind up in landfills around the world. Staggering statistics!